This may only be a very short audax randonnée, but this is the one event that riders really look forward to in early December every year. It is a pleasant prelude to the season when the bike otherwise gets neglected and we put on some unwanted extra pounds.
887 miles in under 5 days
One dark winter’s night the idea was hatched. I think a pint or two may have been involved. I said I wanted to ride the National Audax UK 400 at Tiverton and before we knew it five of us had signed up for the longest audax event there is, the London-Edinburgh-London, the LEL. Were we mad?? 1420km (or 887 miles, and just a bit further than Lands End – John O’Groats) in less than five days. We were mad! But it turned out that 1100 others were heading for the asylum too.
Our ride started early, with about 25K to put in to get to Connor Downs for 9 o’clock. We were pleased with progress after several weeks off the tandem and with the captain still in recovery from LEL, and arrived in good time for once to find the hall buzzing in anticipation of a good ride and a sunny day.
The long hill out of Connor Downs to the A30 crossing is reasonably tandem-friendly and all was going along very cheerily until what would normally be an easy front mech change turned into a nasty snarl up and a fight with a greasy chain. This, luckily, is men’s work – the Butlers stopped to lend a hand and eventually we were back in business and pushing hard to catch the field at the Coombe checkpoint. A bit of faffing here and a couple of poorly coordinated starts saw us off the back again, and we enjoyed most of the rest of the ride in glorious isolation and at a very modest pace. Continue reading
The opening events of 2013 from Penzance were notable for the very fresh and cold wind from the East. The two brave starters of the Many Rivers to Cross 300 called it a day at Camelford when it was clear that finishing in time was no longer a realistic hope. The Four Hundreds 200 next day was a more practical proposition with four finishers. I found the slog around West Penwith and especially from Lands End to St Buryan painfully slow but some rather fuzzy mental sums suggested I could finish in time and after catching up another rider who had lost me before Zennor, enjoyed the final run past Sheffield and down to the lights of Newlyn.
The Cornish Hundred from Falmouth took place under threat of Westerly gales with gusts of 48mph on the forecast. In fact it was windy but not that windy. Making use of the excellent cross-wind stability of my small wheels I made quite a brisk start. Thoughts of an early arrival at Long Rock were rewarded with a loud bang from my back tyre and I was able to review nearly the entire field as they passed me bent in a gateway fitting a new tyre and tube. Caught on camera too.
Things soon looked up with an end to the rain, some fun with the route sheet and the arrival of sunny spells and the pleasure of riding without the waterproofs. Falmouth Wheelers’ cake and savouries spread didn’t disappoint and I made the most of it.
Thanks to all who came along today and made this, the sixth running of the Coastal, the most successful to date. The hoped for scorcher failed to materialise, but the 50 riders who turned out for the Coastal and 14 for the Canter didn’t seem to mind too much. Both rides will be back again next year on the same weekend – looking forward to seeing both old faces and new on that occasion.
P.S. Which of you lost a bike computer today? Email Kernauk with the make, and he’ll pop it in the post to you.